HomeNewsHealthEli thanks LifeFlight, QAS for saving him

Eli thanks LifeFlight, QAS for saving him

Eli Jarick RACQ LifeFlight
RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Critical Care Doctor Richard Parker, Eli Jarick, and Queensland Ambulance Service Flight Paramedic Kevin Charteris in front of the tree Eli fell from in his backyard.

The Jarick family has thanked RACQ LifeFlight and Queensland Ambulance Service personnel who saved their son Eli after he fell six metres from a backyard tree.

Sarah-Jayne Jarick heard the snap of a tree branch on the morning of 9 March and the loud thud of her son Eli crashing to the ground.

When she looked out her bedroom window the mother-of-two braced for the worst as her 13-year-old boy lay motionless.

“He was laying down and his eyes were open, and he was not breathing and I honestly thought he was dead,” Sarah-Jayne said

“Our family is together, because of LifeFlight.

“Without LifeFlight, Eli might not be here, and our family would be missing a piece.”

Eli’s family and friends joined 258 others at a soiree in the Bundaberg LifeFlight hangar on Friday night, raising close to $80,000 to help expand its Critical Care Doctor Program.

The Bundaberg-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue aeromedical team worked alongside QAS ground crew for over an hour at the scene to treat and stabilise Eli before a RACQ LifeFlight Rescue pilot flew him to Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Eli had punctured lungs, a sprained wrist and a traumatic brain injury.

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Critical Care Doctor Richard Parker and long-serving QAS Flight Paramedic Kevin Charteris recently dropped in to the Jarick’s Pine Creek home to check on Eli’s recovery and surprise him with an invitation to visit the LifeFlight base for a chopper tour.

During the emotional reunion, the LifeFlight aeromedical team explained to Eli’s family that the doctor-only procedures Dr Parker performed in the backyard and the emergency care he received on the one hour and 40 minute helicopter flight to Brisbane reduced the swelling to Eli’s brain – saving his life.

“When I saw Eli, he was laying on the ground under the tree and the first thing I thought was that he needed a helicopter to Brisbane to the Queensland Children’s Hospital,” Dr Parker said.

“We put Eli into an induced coma, put a tube down his throat so that we could control his breathing and monitor his progress during the flight.

“It’s difficult to know exactly how bad Eli could have been, but what I am certain of is without those early interventions from a critical care perspective, he wouldn’t be walking around as the kid he is today.”

Community support

Kevin Charteris, who has been a QAS Flight Paramedic on the Bundaberg-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters for 26 years, drove Dr Parker to Eli’s house on the day he fell out of the tree and worked alongside him to offer life-saving emergency care.

He said Critical Care Doctors boosted the in-helicopter care to the equivalent of a hospital intensive care unit.

“The level of care that the flight paramedics can provide is to a certain level and the Critical Care Doctors that come on board with us now during the day shifts provide that extra level of care,” he said.

Dr Parker said LifeFlight was seeking community support to extend the Critical Care Doctor Program from the current seven-days-a-week to one that covers the night shift as well.

“In August 2022, we went from being a group of doctors working only on weekends for three days.

“The community funding increased enough to allow us to go seven days and service the community up here, but only on the day shifts.

“Now what we are asking is to be able to do 24/7 coverage so that we can cover the Wide Bay and Burnett Region.”

Jarick family RACQ LifeFlight
RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Critical Care Doctor Richard Parker with Eli Jarick and his dad Matthew, mother Sarah-Jayne and sister Michaela.

Eli has recovered well, is back at school and thankful to those who helped him – especially Dr Parker.

“I’m very grateful for what he did,” Eli said.

“I’m just glad he was there.”

And so is the rest of his family including dad Matthew and sister Michaela.

“We were lucky that Dr Parker was there because he was the only one that could put him to sleep and that’s what saved his brain,” Sarah-Jayne said.

“I honestly believe that having Dr Parker here is why Eli has made the recovery he’s made.

“If it had been half an hour earlier and he hadn’t started work or late one evening and he wasn’t here, I don’t even want to know what would have happened if he hadn’t been here to do what he did.”

Dr Parker said having Critical Care Doctors on board the LifeFlight Rescue helicopters meant critically ill patients had access to instant emergency specialist care.

“Accidents happen anywhere, any time and they happen in the blink of an eye,” Dr Parker said.

“You know, kids need to be kids but accidents do happen and we hope to be there when they do.”

The Bundaberg-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter and crew service the Wide Bay-Burnett Region and beyond.

Community members can click here to donate to help the Bundaberg-base secure Critical Care Doctors on the choppers at night.


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